I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ashley's War by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Also by this author: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
Narrator: Kathe Mazur
Length: 10 Hours 6 Minutes
Published by HarperCollins on April 21st 2015
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Military, Women, History, Afghan War (2001-)
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
In 2010, the Army created Cultural Support Teams, a secret pilot program to insert women alongside Special Operations soldiers battling in Afghanistan. The Army reasoned that women could play a unique role on Special Ops teams: accompanying their male colleagues on raids and, while those soldiers were searching for insurgents, questioning the mothers, sisters, daughters and wives living at the compound. Their presence had a calming effect on enemy households, but more importantly, the CSTs were able to search adult women for weapons and gather crucial intelligence. They could build relationships—woman to woman—in ways that male soldiers in an Islamic country never could.
In Ashley's War, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon uses on-the-ground reporting and a finely tuned understanding of the complexities of war to tell the story of CST-2, a unit of women hand-picked from the Army to serve in this highly specialized and challenging role. The pioneers of CST-2 proved for the first time, at least to some grizzled Special Operations soldiers, that women might be physically and mentally tough enough to become one of them.
The price of this professional acceptance came in personal loss and social isolation: the only people who really understand the women of CST-2 are each other. At the center of this story is a friendship cemented by "Glee," video games, and the shared perils and seductive powers of up-close combat. At the heart of the team is the tale of a beloved and effective soldier, Ashley White.
Much as she did in her bestselling The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, Lemmon transports readers to a world they previously had no idea existed: a community of women called to fulfill the military's mission to "win hearts and minds" and bound together by danger, valor, and determination. Ashley's War is a gripping combat narrative and a moving story of friendship—a book that will change the way readers think about war and the meaning of service.
Why Did I Listen To Ashley’s War?
Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon really appealed to me because it has such a strong focus on the role of women in the US military. I had not heard of the cultural support teams, but wow, these women are amazing. Plus, combine that with the fact that the audiobook is narrated by Kathe Mazur who has a track history of solid non-fiction narration. Also? I really enjoyed reading The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. I just knew that I had to read this book either physically or via audio.
What’s It About?
So, Ashley’s War by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is about the cultural support teams which basically placed women alongside elite male forces in Afghanistan. You see, prior to this, the military was not getting the full picture and information that they needed as they could not communicate with the women of Afghanistan.
Thus, getting females out in the field in Afghanistan was a big deal. This book follows a number of different women who were part of the first cultural support teams and tells their story — including the story of Ashley White. She was the first cultural support team member killed in action. She’s also the first to be memorialized on the Army Wall Of Honor along with the Army Rangers who were with her.
How Did I Like Ashley’s War?
I really loved reading Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield. Seriously, I do not read or listen to enough non-fiction. And this was one of those books that just made me really curious. It reads like narrative non-fiction. The story of these courageous women is to be commended.
I mean, the service members of the military are very important to me. Obviously look at who I’m married to. I have had female members of my family serve as well. I hear a lot about male stories but not so much the women, so I just felt this was so important. After reading, I could not stop going recommending this book. It is kind of strange, however, that it has taken me so long to write this review.
How’s The Narration?
As I mentioned before, the audiobook is narrated by Kathe Mazur. It is 10 hours and 6 minutes long. ALSO YAY IT IS ON HOOPLA. I listened to the audiobook at 1.5x speed as I always do. I have to say that if you’re hesitant to try non-fiction, audiobooks are the way to go. This is one audiobook that is definitely not to be missed out on. It’s well narrated. It’s interested. The production values are top notch. Spend an audible credit or a Hoopla monthly borrow on this book, it is WORTH YOUR TIME.
Other reviews of Ashley’s War by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon:
- The Military Spouse Book Review – “a well-told story“
- Christie Writes Reviews – “The book is fantastically written“